In the last two parts of this series, we looked at

Part 1: Why we need to consider virtual care as part of our strategy for pandemic preparedness

Part 2: How virtual care can enable the process transformations to enable business continuity while mitigating the risk of exposure to staff and patients.

In this part, we ask the question: Why Cloud?

When it comes to preparing for a pandemic, there are many unknowns; however, three things are very difficult to precisely predict:

  • Timing: When will the next Pandemic happen?
  • Impact: Who will be affected and how much disruption can happen?
  • Geographical spread: Where will the outbreak happen and spread?

When the scope is unclear, it is always very difficult to plan well. When we look at the options in front of us, we have mainly two options

  1. Commit infinite resources to address the worst case
  2. Leverage a model that can scale based on the need

Obviously, the first option is not a practical business solution. With option 2 being the default approach, this is where the agility of the cloud comes handy. While cloud provides many advantages, let us look at some of the key benefits of cloud when it comes to preparing for a pandemic. They are:

The Convenience of the Cloud:

As we saw in the last part, navigating around the path of the virus can be achieved by using virtual care. Cloud based solutions provide the convenience of accessing services from anywhere, anytime, from any device without having to pre-install. Patients can leverage SaaS based Virtual care solutions to interact with the care teams without leaving their home. New work flows can be pushed out quickly to enable Self-service and dynamic process changes.

The Agility of the Cloud:

In the absence of a fixed scope, it is extremely important to scale as the need arises. The cloud provides the elasticity of scaling solutions based on the needs. Ability to deploy and provision services and configurations rapidly and dynamically using self-service models is going to be equally important during a pandemic ‘break the glass’ situation. The networks might need to be reconfigured to enable communication with other systems and hence requires a software enabled model for dynamic reconfiguration.

The standard layers of the cloud such as the SaaS, PaaS, IaaS can address the dynamic application, Platform and Infrastructure needs. In addition, newer specialization layers such as the iPaaS (Integration platform as a service) layer can come handy to enable integrations with other cloud based solutions and on premise enterprise solutions to enable an integrated system that can leverage information sharing and accelerate the efforts in containing the spread. It is also important to consider solutions in your strategy that is built on open platforms such as open stack to enable rapid delivery of cloud applications when a need arises.

The Combined Power of the Cloud

During a pandemic outbreak, it is critical to coordinate and collaborate between various entities to contain the spread and find the preventive care options as soon as possible. This requires an interconnected system that builds on the combined knowledge and assets that is available. An example of this is to leverage the power of crowd-sourcing. Sass based solutions such as Google Flu trends leverages the crowd’s search activity to estimate the flu activity. The mass communication and awareness programs leveraging cloud based solutions such as social networks can augment the virtual care based process enhancements. Connecting Information sources, research, care teams, coordinators, and patients dynamically enables collaboration and results in a faster route to containing the outbreak.

Cloud Enabled Connected Virtual Care
Cloud Enabled Connected Virtual Care

In conclusion, the cloud based virtual care and supporting solutions can be critical in handling business continuity and reducing the risk to your population during a pandemic outbreak.

Is your business leveraging the power of cloud and virtual care? Is your business ready to face a pandemic?


Rajesh Vargheese


Cisco Healthcare Solutions